Sunday, November 21, 2010

Renewed Investigations of the Brown-Johnston Site

Nick Asbury BOS and Boy Scouts
 We have been digging for clues and even had a Bland County Board of Supervisor's member help us out.
Pictures by Goldie Kiser. Story Dan Kegley and Denise Smith  For additional photos see our Facebook page- Wolf Creek Staff- or Wolf Creek Indian Village & Museum

Members of the Archeological Society of Virginia’s chapters in the southwestern portion of the state renewed investigations at the Brown Johnston Site at Bastian Nov. 6 and 13. The site, occupied around 1500, is popularly known by its re-creation at the Wolf Creek Indian Village and Museum.
Their project examined topsoil, or back dirt, removed by heavy machinery from the late Woodland period village site and deposited in a long, low pile nearby in the full site excavation more than 41 year ago.

November 13th Group photo
 The back dirt was never formally examined for artifacts it may have contained when late archaeologist Col. Howard MacCord excavated the Brown Johnston Site in 1970. Instead, MacCord focused on locating and excavating important archaeological features beneath the topsoil. Such features reveal the locations of dwellings, burials, storage pits, hearths and the palisade that surrounded the village.

Construction of Interstate 77 in 1970 required the relocation of Wolf Creek to allow construction of the Bastian interchange. Before the creek’s realignment destroyed the prehistoric village site, construction paused as MacCord worked to retrieve as much data from the site as possible to construct a picture of life in the village.
The relatively small number of artifacts recovered from the site and other indicators led MacCord to conclude the site was occupied for only four to five years.
Dan Kegley of ASV examining pottery sherds
The research goal of this project was to sample the back dirt to examine it for the presence of artifacts like stone tools, projectile points/knives, and pot shards whose number in the topsoil would either support or challenge MacCord’s interpretation.
With the help of Boy Scouts and Bland County high school history students, and under the professional supervision of Tom Klatka, archaeologist with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the ASV members used quarter-inch mesh screen boxes to sift the back dirt.

Boy Scout's participating were Troop 12 Bland County; Pack 460 Pembroke, VA; Troop 1 Princeton, WV; Troop 264 Pembroke, VA and Troop 1335 Oak Hill, WV

November 6th Group Photo with Message for Sandra Bowling
 "The Archaeology Merit Badge for Boy Scouts is usually taught with a "mock dig". Our scouts were able to participate in an actual dig supervised by experts who were very willing to share their expertise with them." Goldie Kiser BSA Mountain Dominion District Advancement Co-Chairman
"After shoveling and sifting dirt all day on the first Saturday, we actually had several boys show up to do it all over again on the second day! The boys were fascinated by the sifting process, the layers of earth, and the rocks they found." Scoutmaster Randy Kiser Troop 12 Bland County. The Group also showed their appreciation for Ms. Sandra Bowling, a beloved history teacher in Bland County in a rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta.

Chief Peery "Grey Wolf" Wilson & Tom Klatke
 Chief Peery "Grey Wolf" Wilson also visited the site and spoke with Tom Klatke of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources on the importance of the Wolf Creek site to the history of his people.

Chief Grey Wolf and Boy Scouts
He spoke to the Boy Scout Troop members and had his picture taken in the new meeting lodge before the day's work November 13th.

Sampling from two excavation units in the back dirt pile recovered one projectile point, two small pot shards, and a small number of chert and chalcedony flakes left from the manufacture of stone implements.
While the sampled soil is a small percentage of the soil removed from the site, the low number of artifacts found in about 10 hours of screening supports MacCord’s interpretation, said Dan Kegley, ASV president-elect and president of the Abingdon-based Wolf Hills Chapter of the ASV.

Their work may add to MacCord’s interpretation. Kegley said geologist Dr. Charles Bartlett, a founding member of the Wolf Hills Chapter who worked at the site Nov. 13, noted the site is underlain by Devonian shale that weathers into poor quality soil lacking nutrients to support sustained agriculture. By the late Woodland period, prehistoric people like those on the Wolf Creek relied on crops to supplement hunting and crops failure after two or three years might explain the short occupation of the site.

Museum Director Denise Smith said an interpretive garden grown today in the village struggles in the poor soil as a demonstration of prehistoric agriculture. Perhaps its portrayal is in fact accurate for the site.

Smith told Kegley and his chapter members about the unscreened topsoil in April that was brought to her attention a year ago by an excavation participant, and Kegley began the preliminary work of securing professional oversight and the endorsement of the ASV board.

“It was such an honor to follow Howard, even these decades later, on a site and to work at enhancing the understanding of the site that he left us in his journal and his published paper,” Kegley said. “Howard died two years ago. He played a large role in eastern U.S. archeology, particularly in Virginia.”

After photographing the artifacts and writing a paper on the project for the ASV’s Quarterly Bulletin, Kegley will return them to the museum for curation.
Smith plans to open the topsoil sampling work to visitors to the village who would work under supervision.

Contributed photos by Goldie Kiser

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wolf Creek Indian Village in the Fall 2010

It has been a very busy time for us at Wolf Creek Indian Village & Museum. Our fall school groups are in full swing. We enjoy the children so MUCH!!  Also it is a break from the remodel too when they come for a visit and we get to play, i.e. show how to make rope or tools or fire. We just love it.

But our priority is getting as much of the village as we can reconstructed before winter sets in. Also recreating the displays that make it interesting and turn it into a living museum. We have a place and a need for volunteers. If you are interested contact the museum at

This post will have to be short. We wanted to share pictures of the fall colors and our structures. We now have four standing and set up for visitation. They are not completely finished mind you. Coverings are still being applied and displays are still being built but it is a real experience now. The village is talking and showing us things we had never thought of. Such as we now can clearly understand that the front gate was the gate towards the creek in how they placed the structures. When we finish adding all the structures you can see that the gate visitors now enter into the village can be seen to be better protected by how the structures were built. You won't be able to just walk into the Plaza of the village without walking through a structure first!  The creek side gate was protected with a large guard house. It's like having a front door and a back door.

We are so excited but in the mean time enjoy the pictures.

Oval Pit inside Pottery

Doorway to what we call Cooks & Gardens Structure

7 mystery poles. Have several of these in structures that have nothing to do with support of roof. Interweaving to see what that looks like.

View of another doorway of Cooks & Gardens looking towards Pottery

Latest Baskets being set up

Cooks and gardens inside

Side door of Baskets

Looking out of Baskets towards lodge


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Designing a Replica Village for a Flood - Update on Rebuild

We are at the beginning of our Fall school groups. Very excited to have our students back. Our teachers who have brought their students back every year since we opened Wolf Creek Village are nothing but pleased with our rebuild results. We have 3 of the new round house structures open with a 4th structure opened by next week. With a crew of 2 working on the rebuild, available staff and many dedicated volunteers to which we owe a debt of gratitude, the village is coming back to life.

Sorry we have been slack on updating the blog....little busy. As I review the pictures to place on the blog, tropical storm Nicole is passing through. The rain falling outside always concerns us at Wolf Creek Indian Village. The village is situated along Wolf Creek and when the creek waters rise, the village floods.

I often wonder if the Virginia Indians who lived here 500 years ago had to endure a couple of floods a year as we do and what did they do?  Our small docile creek can turn into looking like the Mississippi with strong currents and churning water. We count on at least 2 floods a year on a regular basis. When it floods we hope nothing floats away and every structure still stands.  We just clean up, open the village back up and move on.

As I was looking at the new rebuild pictures I realize in the decade I've been here how much that flooding has influenced our rebuild. We used the archeology map for the original design of where pole placements are but the materials we choose in the modern day are choosen with the hope they will last a while in more modern terms or can easily be replaced.

The Virginia Indians in this area were definitely an example of a Native American working community though semi nomadic. They stayed in an area as long as the resources held out to support the village and then moved. If these structures were waddle and daub and it flooded then the walls would have to have repairs or replacement of clay. If the untreated wood rotted from being wet it would have weakened and needed replaced fairly often. 

Without Lowes or Home Depot available to truck resources in it could explain why this village moved within 10 years and remained undisturbed until 1970. That is an assumption as to how long it existed and also what the environment was. It might not have flooded as much 500 years ago because the virgin forest would still have been intact and the run off from the interstate didn't exist. But it definitely floods now and we have changed what we are building versus what they had available so we can remain in one spot. We are using treated wood and materials at ground level that can be easily replaced.

We are not the only site plagued by how to build to make it last using more modern materials. Other reconstructed sites such as Town Creek have used a sort of concrete fiber glass colored material in place of clay for their waddle and daub round houses. We are thinking of an experiment to do one small structure to see how it withstands a flood from Wolf Creek. Concrete can absorb moisture and weaken. It can also freeze and crack during a winter flood.

Yet this reconstruction has given real insight into how the people lived 500 years ago just by how the village was set up.  The entire placement of the village structures tells a story. I will update this post in the next day or so with new photos and explain that. These photos are from 2 weeks ago and more of the rebuild has been accomplished. Hope those that have been here before will come see us. It's truly amazing how the architectual elements stand out from the older reconstruction.

Inside meeting lodge. 2 foot flood allowance. We will add something that can be removed quickly in case of flash flood warnings.

Cooks & Gardens River Cane wall matting being applied.

Second Largest structure that we demonstrate Pottery in.

Meeting lodge ready for Flexibark. Another material we are using for longevity.

Inside Cooks & Gardens

Another View of inside Cooks & Gardens

Meeting lodge looking at eastern door and benches

Friday, August 13, 2010

Village Raising August 20th 2010

It was a wonderful All Nations Green Corn Festival. Thank you to all our volunteers, donors, sponsors and those who came out to support us. It gets better every year! But now back to the reason Wolf Creek Museum exists. It is this archeology site that was discovered in 1970.  A map of an entire palisaded village. A village we are building back.  At the end of this blog pictures of the rebuild currently.

Folks may ask why would it be important today to rebuild a replica of a village that existed 500 years ago? First of all this is a village that existed in Appalachia! In many historic records and on many maps this area is listed as "the unknown tribes" or only referred to as "hunting grounds" for the Native Americans and early colonists. Our question is why would anyone want to settle and live where people were not thought to live before Europeans arrived?  Archeology sites such as ours tell us a different story, a story of a people who called this home, the story of the "unknown tribes" of Appalachia.  A people cannot plan for a future, if they don't know their past.

The village is teaching us quite a few lessons. We are placing posts in the ground to mimic the archeology map. We are reproducing all the storage and fire pits and it is showing us another way these folks could have lived in this valley long before anyone knew they once existed. Granted we are using modern techniques and modern materials (mostly to survive the rebuild in a flood plain that require adjustments to hide later), but the integrity of what it was like to live in such a village and the means by which they could have used to support people can and will still be seen. 

Structure known as Old Gardeners through the front gate being built.

It was thought this village could have been home to as many as 100 people. There are times we wish we had that many to build and maintain it today. Alas we have a dedicated crew of 7 and if the village is to rise from the ground we will need some help. We are asking for a few volunteers to join us the weekend of August 20th for a VILLAGE RAISING (much like a barn raising) to get the first five structures in working order before school groups. We are looking for folks with strong backs and construction skills. We have 6 signed on and would like to have at least 6 more. Volunteers can camp on site at the museum and we will feed them. It begins Friday August 20th and ends Sunday August 22. If you are interested please call the museum at 276-688-3438 and ask for Denise Smith. Or email her at

The structure wall posts are already in place. We are looking for volunteers to help with the roof of each structure and the inside shelving and replication of the pits. These are pictures of the structures yet to be completed. The Old Gardeners Structure now has it's base roof in place as of this week. But there is much more work to be accomplished. 

This is stage one of 3. If you would like to donate food, tools, (we can use another generator, YES we are using modern tools for an ancient village, 7 people all the help they can get!)  materials to the project please contact the museum. Or if you would like to make a monetary donation please mail your donations to Wolf Creek Indian Village & Museum, 6394 N Scenic HWY, Bastian, VA 24314 stating Village on your donation. All donations are appreciated!! Thanks

Structure known as old Cordage
Structure known as Old Tanners

Structure known as Old Pottery

Structure Known as Old Gardeners getting a roof.

The Lodge and it's New Eastern Door way

Inside Lodge awaiting benches and shelving and matting

PS I was asked why the roofing is like a regular roof on the lodge. Well the Flexible bark, though it looks like bark is "flexible", not stiff like regular bark and needs that support. You won't see the modern materials when the coverings are completed and we are finished.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

All Nations Green Corn Festival & Pow Wow

The staff at Wolf Creek Indian Village and Museum are very excited about the All Nations Green Corn Festival and Pow Wow July 16-18, 2010 at the Bland County Virginia Fairgrounds, 123 Fairground Road, Bland, VA 24315.

This is the Bland County American Indian Heritage Weekend. This years festival is promising to be an excellent event!!  The line up of entertainment is top notch. Our community is coming together to support this event and it just feels great this year. (You know when you plan an event, sometimes you just are not sure whether it will work? Well this year it is just wonderful, we feel it in the air that this is going to be a spectacular event.)

This is the 3rd annual All Nations Green Corn Festival & Pow Wow.  It was very special that the drums sounded the first year in the valleys of Bland County, probably for the first time in more than 200 years. Every year it gets better. We hope many who missed it last year will be able to attend! This year, if there is rain, the county has finished the Pavilion at the fairgrounds and we can move the activities inside of the Pavilion.

We decided to update the blog first. It doesn't require a special program! Website will be updated in a day or so. Here are the performers scheduled to appear:

Arvel Bird - "Lord of the Strings"

Fans worldwide call legendary violinist Arvel Bird, “Lord of the Strings” for his powerful talent and artistic passion that draws audiences to his unique fiddling style. Classically trained, Bird calls on his Native American and Celtic heritage to create a repertoire that ranges from classical, new age, Celtic, and folk, to jazz, blues and fusion.
Award-winning violinist, flutist and storyteller, Bird’s charismatic performances extend beyond his flawless music. An expressive storyteller, he weaves stories of Native American spirituality with haunting melodies to give vision to his music. He speaks of Native American wisdom, the sacredness of Mother Earth, the environment and the sacred totems of the animals with whom we share this planet. Bird’s messages resonate with today’s audiences often feeling overwhelmed by today’s hectic, fast-paced world.
Bird’s energetic and alluring stage presence and blend of classical and foot-stomping fiddling are what make him one of the most sought-after Native American musicians on tour today. With 25 CDs and 2 DVDs under his belt, Native American Artist of the Year Arvel Bird released his latest album in January, 2010, Ride, Indian, Ride.

His breakthrough album, Ride, Indian, Ride combines a hard-hitting, raw blues/jazz sound with the Native American/Celtic rhythms that have made Arvel Bird’s music so popular worldwide."  We are sure Arvel will have copies for sale at the Festival but if you would like to purchase a copy on line visit Arvel Bird's Website

Bird Chopper Bird

Host Drum - The home of Bird Chopper is Qualla Boundary. It’s better know as the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina. Previously called Blue Earth (1975-1996) the drum was renamed in honor of Ric Bird’s grandfather, Bird Chopper Bird. Until the loss of Nan in 2004, there were four generation of singers. Today, two families have three generations who continue the traditions of both drum and dance. Bird Chopper sings Northern and Southern and they also have their own Cherokee songs. They were the first drum to introduce the Cherokee Flag Song to the Pow Wow circle. Ric Bird - lead singer for Bird Chopper, is known professionally as “Ric Youngblood” “Cherokee Warrior” – professional Wrestler (1978-2005 (Retired) Ric held 4 World Titles during his wrestling career. Along with Ric, all of their singers are champion dancers – Fancy; Grass; Straight; Traditional; Hoop.

Dry Creek Medicine

Dry Creek Medicine Drum – Native American Drumming and Dance Performance Group.

Dry Creek Medicine is a Southern Style Native American Drum Group. Three of their members are enrolled members of the Edisto Tribe of the Natchez-Kusso Indians from Ridgeville, South Carolina. One member is Cherokee, and one member is Creek-Cherokee.
Ramona Moore Big Eagle

Ramona Moore Big Eagle, M.Ed. (Tuscarora/Cherokee) is an Oral Historian and Legend Keeper of the Tuscarora Nation of North Carolina. An enrolled member of the Nation, Ramona has served on the Tribal Council and in various other capacities for the Tuscarora. She earned a Master of Education Degree from East Tennessee State University in Reading and Storytelling and a Bachelor of Art Degree in Psychology from Catawba College. As the Director of Heritage School, Ramona taught students for over ten years. Ramona travels throughout the United States and Canada as a Motivational Speaker, Cultural Educator, Consultant, Workshop Facilitator and Storyteller. Her workshops and programs of American Indian culture and history delivered through the art of Storytelling, authentic artifacts, music, drumming, dance, and crafts have been educating and empowering audiences of all ages since 1976.

Ken Watson - Flute player  Update: Ken won't be able to join us as he is GETTING MARRIED! (Hey, we are on Indian Time, you do things when it's right to to them!) We wish he and his new wife blessings and hope to see both of them next time. We are lining up a replacement as we speak.

Ken Cloudwalker - Arena Director
Ken “Cloudwalker” and his wife Celeste “Spiderwrulf” started Six Directions Traders over 10 years ago. It began by providing a service for the people, by having items that they could not readily find. To this day we strive to continue this by the Will of The Creator, Service and items we provide for the People.
We were Volunteer Firefighters for 8 years before moving to Florida. In 2001 in the United States of Native America, we realized that Police, Fire and EMS were our Warriors at home and were welcomed into the Grand Entry behind the Veterans. This was Very moving for us. Ken was often asked to Smudge people before they went into the circle, especially if it was not provided at the pow wow. Eventually he was asked to be Arena Director and/or Keeper of the Circle at pow wows throughout Florida. During our travels over summer, through the Southeast, Ken was picked up as Arena Director in many other states.
“I believe we are all One People and I’m Always Honored to Serve”

Mike "Thunder Dancer See's The Ground" Cranford
Lead Male Dancer

"Thunder" is Cherokee, Male Traditional Bustle Dancer. He dances at up to 40 pow wows per year, often serving as male head dancer or circle director. "Thunder" is a Vietnam Air Force Veteran. He is owner of Cranford Gun Works, Cranford Tax Service and a member of the Native American Better Business Bureau. " I am honored to be chosen as head dancer and looking forward to the event. I will strive to do the best job possible" 

Jeanie "E Nah Dah" Cranford
Lead Female Dancer
"E Nah Dah" is Cherokee, a Southern Female Traditional Dancer. She dances at as many as 40 pow wows per year on the east coast. E Nah Dah dances toshare her culture and educate all people. School, group and civic presentations are also included in her focus to share her culture and educate others. "It is always such a great honor to be selected as head female dancer. I take the job very seriously and strive to represent all Native Americans in a positive way".
Adults $6
Children - ages 4-16 $4
Veterans & Seniors - $4
Veterans with Veterans Feathers - Free

Educational, Luck of the Draw, Traditional Powwow
All Dancers, Drums and Singers Welcome

Friday - July 16, 2010 - Gates Open 1 PM - 8:30 PM Grand Entry 2 PM
Saturday - July 17th, 2010 - Gates Open 11 AM - 8:30 PM Grand Entry 12 Noon
Sunday - July 18th, 2010 - Gates Open 1 PM - 8:30 PM Grand Entry 2 PM

Bring a blanket and/or chair, an umbrella for rain or shine and join us.
No Guns, Gossip, Drugs or Alcohol
For more information: Call 276-688-3438 or email

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Yo-Na Invitational Tournament, Bastian, VA

Wolf Creek Indian Village & Museum is a proud sponsor of the Yo-Na Invitational Tournament this week in Bastian, Virginia. Yo-Na translated is Bear in the Cherokee Iroquois language. We encourage our friends and colleagues to come out this week in supporting our local regional Baseball teams and wishing them the best of success.

Tournament Schedule April 27th

You can keep track of the results at the Bluefield Daily Telegraph on line.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Blessing Ceremony Opens Wolf Creek Indian Village & Museum

Members of the Delaware (Munsee) Nation performed a traditional Blessing Ceremony April 1st at this years opening of the Wolf Creek Indian Village and Museum in Bastian, VA.

The traditional ceremony led by Chief of the Turtle Clan, Jack "3 Bears" Eisel and assisted by Chief of the Turkey Clan, Darrell "Two Wolves" Schwarz was held in the recreated Village site.
Chief "3 Bears" said of the Indian Village, "This is all sacred land. We are still here and we are still using it."
"First People were here long before the white men came, said Chief Two Wolves, "The ancestors would be very unhappy if they were forgotten."

Joyce Cheekis Eisel, said, "Everyone should be taught about the First People of Virginia, that is the importance of the village."
"When we pray, we all pray to the same creator," Penny Plummer, Retail Sales Manager said. "We just have different ways of expressing that."
For her part of the prayer, Denise Smith, Museum and Village Manager, noted that people will enter the village from all walks of life. "I prayed the blessing to help people have a positive experience in the village and leave with new knowledge."

“We are pleased to be extending our hours of operation to include Monday this year and are excited about the rebuilding in progress” said Willie Howlett, Bland County Administrator. “This is truly a unique destination for both local residents and visitors to Bland County.

Members of the Delegation were Peggy "Goodwin" Cornell, Tim Cornell
Jack "3 Bears Eisel" Darrell "Two Wolves" Schwarz, Jaime "Golden Otter" Booher, Roy "Red Hawk" Jones, Karen "Grandma Spirit Woman" Jones, Joyce Cheekis Eisel, Lois, "White Dove" Goodwin, Oscar "Lost Wolfe" Goodwin, Raymond "Lightfoot" Goodwin and Carolyn Tomey.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Recreating the Past

The goal of Wolf Creek Indian Village is to tell the story of the people who once lived in this valley 500 years ago. The rebuilding of their homes in the village is a large part of that story.

But how were they constructed? What materials did they use? Using the only evidence we have, the actual map of the archeology site, the artifacts found, and scholarly thought of what is believed to have occurred is our only recourse to tell the story.

In the first recreation of the village in 1996 the new village was mapped out according to the archeology map. It was decided to create wigwam structures. Research at that time said wigwams were the only structures they could have been since lines of post holes were in a round on the ground on the original site. The diameter of the circles were copied as well as the placement of the structures.

Then materials to use became a matter of concern. Wigwams were thought to be covered by mostly bark but matting could also be used as in this picture of an Objiwe home in 1880 from the Library of Congress collections.
 These were Eastern Woodland Indians. 500 years ago they most likely had more resources for bark but today bark is not an easy material to acquire. It also is not a long lasting material but would need to be replaced every few years. Instead the first construction were created with frames of wood and a more modern covering. These structures did not mimic pole for pole of the map but in diameter it was correct. The coverings chosen for the new Wolf Creek Indian Village was fiberglass with a resin coating shell attached to a wooden frame. The structures allowed for natural light. The structures constructed the way they were, in the beginning the village was magnificent. You felt the size and form of the original village.

Alas we learned later there were structural problems in the construction that could not be sustained by the way they were built. The weight of the fiberglass and the size of the wigwams caused within 5 years the structures to begin to collapse. This picture was taken in 1999 and you can see through the gate the fiberglass beginning to buckle and split.

In rebuilding the village we started once again with the archeology map.  We began constructing a model of the largest structure which we call the meeting lodge. We copied the map post by post and then by taking small limber sticks of wood we tried to construct a proper wigwam like this:

But we discovered there were too many post molds on the map.
Archeologist said they could have been rehabilitated posts. Perhaps, but over the years American Indians visiting Wolf Creek Indian Village would comment that our structures were very large for a wigwam and some mentioned that a wigwam in their tradition was not that permanent a structure for a village.
A search for another type of structure that they "could" have built showed us that the First People were not stuck with just one type of housing structure in the east.  Illustrations of the wigwam above and round house are from the book,  "Virginia Native Peoples" by Karla Smith (Heinmann State Studies Series 2003)
We also liked the illustration of the Crab Orchard site meeting house below. You can see this meeting lodge on the left of the drawing has a long rectangular annex attached to it, but the round part looks familiar. These structures began to make sense to us with what we had from the archeology site map.

The artist illustration of Crab Orchard site in Tazewell County, VA is from the book "First People: Early Indians of Virginia," by Keith Egloff and Debra Woodward. We consulted many more sources the book "Native American Architecture" by Peter Nabakov was vital too.

So we restructured the meeting lodge as a round house and the model built in this manner we had no problem using every pole.  
Once we had the basic design we found we had to discover materials we could use that would mimic what could have been used 500 years ago that would not be hard to obtain.  The walls would have to be covered and also the roof. The roof could have been thatched or bark. Bark is still not much of an option. But we found a synthetic bark called Flexibark that would last 30 years or more. For the walls, many round houses had intertwined materials and were daubed with clay or had matting.

Two years ago, a visitor mentioned she had been studying the uses of river cane among Native American populations in the east. We call river cane "North American Bamboo. She mentioned all of these uses first people found for this versitile plant. Matting, baskets, in construction of homes, flutes, blow guns, etc. and it peaked our curiousity. Could it have been used here? 

Research showed that River Cane would have been a plant our village would have known. We found county records that stated members of the Clear Fork community in 1804 came together to clear out the river cane to make way for a bridge across the creek. Further searches on the internet confirmed this was a plant that was here in abundance. It was depleted out to clear for farm land along with the filling in of wetlands. There was a recorded cane brake in Eastern Kentucky that spanned 15 miles!!

River cane looks very similar to bamboo. We have a small patch of river cane started in our wetland but not enough to cover 13 structures. We found small bamboo can be purchased and that is what we are using. 

The outer wall of the round meeting lodge was put in place this week. The flexibark will be delivered Friday.  The inner walls will have a matting and you won't even see the posts.
Here are pictures of our progress.


We know these structures mimic the archeology map of the Brown-Johnston site more accurately.  We could never know for sure what they had built for the original structures or what materials they used, but this construction will last much longer than the wigwam design as well as mimic the materials they could have used.